Image of Feynman Diagrams Feynman Diagrams
Feynman Diagrams, Richard Feynman, 1949

The Atomic Bomb changed everything in the post-WWII world of physics education. Faculty and students studied quantum theory and the theory of relativity, grappling with the fundamental laws governing matter and energy. Federal dollars for research poured into the Physics department to support this work. Every university faced the same problem: How to educate the next generation of physicists? MIT decided to maintain a diverse research agenda balancing nuclear and non-nuclear research programs. With generous funding, physicists also developed new research tools such as accelerators and bubble chambers to conduct extremely complex experiments. They soon found themselves struggling with an immense amount of data. One significant development was the Feynman Diagram, a pictorial device that represented the interactions of elementary particles. Developed by Richard Feynman (MIT ’39) in 1949, popularized by Freeman Dyson, physics graduate students quickly adopted the ingenious tool that showed a researcher how to calculate the behavior of those particles.

Devotees of Richard Feynman and MIT’s hacking culture will note that the MIT Museum may have found Phi Beta Delta’s missing door.

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